Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Area Forums abolished - last chance to have your say next week

Next week could be your last chance ever to have your say at an Area Forum, after the ruling Conservatives scrapped them.

Not that anyone reading the council press release would have any idea they are being abolished. They talk about everything the public can do there and all the reasons to come along but don't let on what's planned. There is one innocuous looking line: "There will be an update on the future of the Area Forums." That future is gone, because the Tories and Labour voted to get rid of them last week.

Why not come along and make your views known, not only on local highway schemes and community grants, but also on the decision to scrap the forums themselves? You will also be able to hear from Sirona Care and Health about community health care services. The Frome Vale Area Forum will have an update from Network Rail on their forthcoming work on the Dodington Road railway bridge and the Severn Vale Forum will have a bus service update after concerns were raised at previous meetings.

In future, instead of decisions about things like highway safety schemes and community grants being made by the councillors who live in and know the area, they will be made by council committees that have themselves been merged. One committee will now cover everything from waste to strategic planning, libraries to traffic schemes - and make decisions on community grants. The Conservatives have suggested that some of the community grant money could be given to individual councillors but couldn't explain how this would be administered efficiently and transparently.

Frome Vale Area Forum (which includes Frampton Cotterell, Ladden Brook and Westerleigh wards) meets at 7pm on Thursday 3rd March in Chipping Sodbury Baptist Church. Severn Vale Area Forum (which includes Charfield ward) meets at 7pm on Wednesday 2nd March in Turnberries Community Centre, Thornbury.

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